I’m convinced: death to Facebook

One of Facebook’s very own internal reports on the state of Facebook has seen the light of day, and it is revolting.

Its revelations include:

  • As of October 2019, around 15,000 Facebook pages with a majority US audience were being run out of Kosovo and Macedonia, known bad actors during the 2016 election.
  • Collectively, those troll-farm pages—which the report treats as a single page for comparison purposes—reached 140 million US users monthly and 360 million global users weekly. Walmart’s page reached the second-largest US audience at 100 million.
  • The troll farm pages also combined to form:
    • the largest Christian American page on Facebook, 20 times larger than the next largest—reaching 75 million US users monthly, 95% of whom had never followed any of the pages.
    • the largest African-American page on Facebook, three times larger than the next largest—reaching 30 million US users monthly, 85% of whom had never followed any of the pages.
    • the second-largest Native American page on Facebook, reaching 400,000 users monthly, 90% of whom had never followed any of the pages.
    • the fifth-largest women’s page on Facebook, reaching 60 million US users monthly, 90% of whom had never followed any of the pages.
  • Troll farms primarily affect the US but also target the UK, Australia, India, and Central and South American countries.
  • Facebook has conducted multiple studies confirming that content more likely to receive user engagement (likes, comments, and shares) is more likely of a type known to be bad. Still, the company has continued to rank content in user’s newsfeeds according to what will receive the highest engagement.
  • Facebook forbids pages from posting content merely copied and pasted from other parts of the platform but does not enforce the policy against known bad actors. This makes it easy for foreign actors who do not speak the local language to post entirely copied content and still reach a massive audience. At one point, as many as 40% of page views on US pages went to those featuring primarily unoriginal content or material of limited originality.
  • Troll farms previously made their way into Facebook’s Instant Articles and Ad Breaks partnership programs, which are designed to help news organizations and other publishers monetize their articles and videos. At one point, thanks to a lack of basic quality checks, as many as 60% of Instant Article reads were going to content that had been plagiarized from elsewhere. This made it easy for troll farms to mix in unnoticed, and even receive payments from Facebook.

Troll farms. It’s all troll farms, as far as you can see. This service I signed up for to keep in touch with family has instead become a service for Eastern European assholes to keep in touch with me.

Although, I guess things do change. If Facebook had stayed true to its original purpose, we’d be using it to track hot girls on campus. The legitimate social functions were just a passing phase in Facebook’s process of becoming whatever the hell it is now.

I’ll be posting my announcement that I’m leaving Facebook right now, and let it sit there for a few days…and then I’ll nuke my account during my Sunday livestream. That’ll be fun.


  1. cartomancer says

    I certainly don’t miss the thing. Three years on from leaving and I barely think about it anymore. Mind you, I have so few friends to keep in touch with that I don’t really need something like that to do it with. It might be harder if you have lots.

  2. says

    I do have lots…but in order to see anything from them, I have to wade through so many ads and so much clickbait it’s just not worth it anymore.

    I guess I’ll have to pick up the phone and talk directly to them. I am averse to using the phone for anything, but at least it doesn’t interrupt my calls with things like Wouldn’t you like to know the horrible way that Anne Francis died? or Look — here’s a piece of trash someone decided to pay to advertise.

  3. evanolcott says

    However hard you try, however deep you dig, the account and its content will never really go away.
    I tried to nuke mine in 2016 (right after Cambridge Analytica), and people were still leaving me messages, making friend requests, etc. I tried logging in again in 2019 and there it was, still full of garbage.

  4. tinkerer says

    Facebook makes leaving quite difficult (what a surprise). I can’t remember the exact process now but there were lots of hoops to jump through and I seem to remember waiting periods before you could confirm it. It’s like you have to ask for permission to leave. Closing my Amazon account was even worse.

  5. snarkrates says

    Never a day goes by that I do not thank the nonexistent gods that I never got sucked into that cesspit! When was the last time you actually saw something there that enlightened or inspired you. I never hear anything good about it–and yet its advertising revenues keep soaring. It is a perfect example showing that capitalism is the antithesis of free markets.

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    Before the pandemic, I used to manage the events-calendar page for a local newsletter, and felt constant frustration at how many (nominally progressive, “awake”) groups not only coordinated their activities on F’book but did nothing else for publicity.

    Not only does such a (non-) strategy lock its users into a self-selecting and diminishing pool of participants, it leaves them fully dependent on a large, dishonest corporation whose head, when facing calls to reduce media bias, opted first to seek advice from Tucker Carlson, for crysake, then set up the latter’s organization as official fact checkers.

    How can both seasoned activists and “the most media-savvy generation in history” consistently leave themselves so vulnerable?

  7. simonhadley says

    It amazes me how much bad content FB has yet if I make a post that is even mildly critical of Christianity I get a ban.

  8. F.O. says

    Facebook cheapens human interaction.

    Nowadays I have to actually call people, or write specifically to them, rather than doomscroll and like.

    It was a massive improvement.

  9. says

    Social media is like a cancer on the internet.

    Fortunately, you don’t need chemo to fix it. Just a good DNS blacklist, and the knowledge how to apply it.

  10. says

    There is symmetry in it. Bigotry is at least in part a subset of political aggression, and Facebook doesn’t want to accept that it will have to learn to. I decided that Facebook would be where I would practice my rational political disgust, anger, and hate. I think a trick to using the hate is keeping it on actions, beliefs, irrational and illogical ways of thinking, not whole people, and only groups defined by bad behavior like bigotry.

  11. navypack says

    Apologize for the vomit of text, but I wanted some perspective on this ‘work’ conversation, following up a conversation on the evil’s of Facebook. LTLFTC
    Duncan 10 hours ago
    “Instead of users choosing to receive content from these actors, it is our platform that is choosing to give [these troll farms] an enormous reach,” wrote the report’s author, Jeff Allen, a former senior-level data scientist at Facebook.”
    Misty Meyers 9 hours ago
    Sad thing is, so many have fallen into the lairs these trolls have set, trusting strangers; all while unwittingly becoming byproducts of psychological warfare. This tactic of manipulation is not new, just tech has enabled it to infest on a global scale.
    Genie is out of the bottle. Now what?

    Duncan 9 hours ago
    Getting the populace to understand concepts like critical thinking, skepticism and statistics would be my vote, but I can’t see it happening. Though it has happened before, nobody remembers it…

    Area once rolled out welcome mat for ‘The Great Agnostic’
    “The inspiration of the Bible depends upon the ignorance of the gentleman who reads it.” (30 kB)

    Duncan 5 hours ago
    This was written in 1879. Spot the lie.
    Ingersoll’s ‘Some mistakes of Moses’, pg. 32 & 33

    Peyton Maddox 4 hours ago
    Not sure if bashing religion is appropriate work conversation…

    Duncan 4 hours ago
    If the statement that we have a secular form of government is considered ‘bashing’, then I guess we’ve already lost.

    Duncan 2 hours ago
    https://www.au.org/resources/publications/is-america-a-christian-nation (edited)

    Secular state
    A secular state is an idea pertaining to secularity, whereby a state is or purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. A secular state claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and claims to avoid preferential treatment for a citizen based on their religious beliefs, affiliation or lack of either over those with other profiles.Secular states do not have a state religion/preferred religion (e.g., an established religion) or an equivalent, although the absence of an established state religion does not necessarily imply that a state is fully secular or egalitarian in all respects. For example, some states that desc… Show more

    Americans United for Separation of Church and StateAmericans United for Separation of Church and State
    Is America A Christian Nation?
    Is the United States a “Christian nation”? Some Americans think so. Religious Right activists and right-wing television preachers often claim that the United States was founded to be a Christian nation. Even some politicians agree. If the people who make this assertion are merely saying that most Americans are Christians, they might have a point. But those who argue that America is a Christian nation usually mean something more, insisting that the country should be officially Christian. The very character of our country is at stake in the outcome of this debate.

    Peyton Maddox 2 hours ago
    You’re free to feel however you want, but it’s pretty universally accepted that religion and politics don’t belong in the workplace.

    Duncan 1 hour ago
    Yes, I am free. The first amendment of the Constitution guarantees it. But if I must apologize for offending those who found their way deep into a fourth reply, to a thread on the #random channel, (I was under the false impression it was not a work related channel), then let me offer this olive branch. If you find anything I’ve said out of bounds, then feel free to message me directly, to prevent the dangerous spread of unpopular ideas. We can walk through constitutional precedents and history, in case I am in any way, counter-factual. As a defense, I have been trapped inside my domicile due to quarantine, so don’t have a lot of outlets of expression.

    Duncan 17 minutes ago
    Universally accepted ideas of (at least a significant portion) of the 20th century:
    Women don’t deserve full rights and citizenship, (1919)
    Non-whites don’t deserve full rights and citizenship, (1960’s)
    Homosexuality is a ‘sin’ and should be punished, (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, 1993)
    The government should prohibit all alcohol, (1920), ‘War on Drugs’ that disproportionately targets non-whites, (1971)
    Universally accepted != morally defensible (edited)

    Duncan 13 minutes ago
    I love the idea of what my country represents, and I do not apologize for the desire for her to fulfill her promise.

    Duncan 6 minutes ago
    Honor Class, 21:02 Navy OCS, ready for inspection. (That’s the 21st class of 2002, yes, I’m ancient).

  12. oddie says

    I live on Guam and facebook is basically the only way to see what is happening on the island. My spouse is in the military and I missed out on the dependent vaccine rollout because it was only announced on the hospital’s Facebook page. He was super pissed. The United Stated military should not be reliant on Facebook to communicate with people. But everything here is basically only on Facebook, most businesses only have an online presence on FB. It sucks

  13. Anders says

    Will you also get rid of facebook share buttons/sign ins/ tracking shit on the blog? I imagine that contributes more to the assimilation into the hive than your FB account, since that tracks any visitors that also uses FB, and even those of us that dont use it..